Friday, 23 September 2011

The Challenger

As i said, I had an enlightening time at the Cellar tonight, with me, beginning my intimacy with my first peg in a corner table alone so as to finish just that peg as early as possible and cruise home early, and then my friend Sankar sidling up to my side and, looking me needle-point piercing in the eyes, like the Ancient Mariner the wedding guest, saying,"Venu, there is a positive energy around you."

We are great friends and he draws a chair to my side and, tinkling his rum-and-water and winking his left eye, says, "You remember what we did the other day? I am 51 and you are 55. None of these boys can do what we can."

The other day, after his second peg and my third, Sankar revealed he could do Yogasana. I expressed disbelief, my lower jaw dropping an inch and eyes opening wide, for he is not the type on appearance a Yogi, whom you expect to look lean and hungry. Sankar looks well-fed, with the suspicion of a potbelly around his waist although that doesn't in any way diminish the debonair grace about him. To remove my disbelief, he moved to the clearing among the chairs to display, with technical perfection, the Sarvangasana, the all-body yogic posture.

[ Note: Sarvangasana involves keeping that part of the body below the shoulders upside down upright with the support the neck, the head and that part of the hand above the elbow, with the rest of the hands up to the fingers pressing strung below the chest taking the entire supporting pressure of the neck and the head the hand above the elbow, the whole life-force of the yogi holding forth to hold the balance of the upright poise of the rest of the body, with the toes pointing towards infinite bliss.]

"Can anyone do it," Sankar had challenged that evening. Everyone shook his head. The brandy-and-waters, the whiskey-and-sodas, the vodka-with-limes and the rum-and-waters shook their heads. Nearly 20 heads shook in a wave, like wind passing over a coconut grove. There were younger men in the Cellar and all conversation had died down and all were attentive to Sankar's display, but none dared take up the challenge. Nobody dared attempt the yogic posture on the battle field of the Cellar floor.

When the challenge had subsided and our friends started breathing easy, stirring the drinks in their hands preparatory to taking the next sips, I removed my watch from wrist and purse from pocket and moved to the aforesaid clearing among the chairs. The brandy-and-waters, the whiskey-and-sodas, the vodka-with-limes and the rum-and-waters put their drinks back on the tables. I fell on my knees, put that part of my hands above the elbow in a triangle on the floor and, taking a deep breath, swung my body into the position of Vritchikasana.

[Note: Vritchikasana involves holding the entire body in an arc, like a full-strung bow, with the face pointing floorward, but no part of the body other than that part of the hands above the elbows, with the fingers locked, touching the earth, the whole life-force within the yogi flung back into the empty space like a rainbow rising into the skies, where you can hear the rumble of thunder and see the electric flash of the lightening, beyond which is infinite energy and associated bliss.]

When I unwound the posture, all our Cellar friends raised their glasses and said whewwww.. whew-whew!!!

They all acknowledged that evening that I had passed the test to become Sankar's disciple. I touched his feet and was ordained his disciple that night.

That is the regard with which we see each other. Guru-Shikshya relation. He doesn't miss any opportunity to enlighten me on the unfathomable thing that is Yoga.

So Sankar sidles up to my side tonight also and this time speaks to me of spirituality from an entirely new perspective for some 45 enlightening minutes--the blunt and direct side of it, without being wishy-washy or anything like that... "ee jnanjha-punjha karyam thanneya ella evanmarum parayunne. I know all that, I can challenge any of them," he says, referring to what the sages of the past had said in their complicated ways.

Then he downs the remains of his third drink and orders another rum-and-water. "Eda makkale, edukkeda onnukoodi. Hey boys, give me one more."

*****

25 comments:

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

Do you have any idea what you're doing to couch potatoes like me?

"Eda makkale, edukkeda onnukoodi." That's the spirit! (Pun unintended) :)

MTaI said...

Say! Is that you, Mr Wodehouse?
Engaging in a spot of yoga, are we?
Carry on,ol'bean!!!!
:D

P. Venugopal said...

ol'bean!!! hahaha! there are several of us ol'beans at the Cellar!

Arun, suddenly a doubt. whether i am being a bad influence on the general public... you should avoid all bad habits.

Sorcerer said...

See..what drinks can do to you?
It makes you so flexible..
Viva La Vodka..
Hence Proved.

"In life...all you need a bit of 'spirit' inside you to give life a try."-Sorcerer On Life

:)

rknair said...

So the Cellar is turning spiritual in more ways than one :)

P. Venugopal said...

ha ha ha, Sorcy!!! this comes close to your standards, doesn't it? it is all about keeping oneself flexible!
Hence Proved.

Share the spirit of spirituality more often, RK. The door is open till 11 in the night.

Prabhakar said...

this is in keeping with the ancient Hindu tradition when soma was the official drink of the sages.

Joe A Scaria said...

I have always believed journalists are great gymnasts -- with words by day, with deeds by dusk.

Joe A Scaria

Thommy said...

In a class of its own...!!!

P. Venugopal said...

thank you, thommy, joe...
We miss you joe, nowadays at the cellar.

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

:D :D :D :D :D
Hmmm ..... so,

vodka = flexibility huh ??
now, why dont we improvise and sell vodka to yoga schools ...

still further, patent it ..

learn yoga in 10 sec with vodka ...

Sorc and Venu Maash .. if you make a fortune on this idea, you owe me royally !!

P. Venugopal said...

Prabhakar, I have read somewhere about a great yogi coming out of his meditation in a seemingly deeply intoxicated state, swaying on his his feet like a drunken man. It is all about unwinding oneself completely. How stiff we are in our day-to-day intereactions! That is where the Soma acts; it helps the sages to touch that weightless condition.

And Deepa, you can't learn yoga in 10 sec with vodka ... This means you know nothing about the process involved. It will take at least 15 minutes for the first drink to start working even if you down it in one gulp. After the second drink is the best condition to learn yoga. Work on this storyline and give us a "one-liner," as they say in film industry about the theme of the story. I shall help Sorcy do the script, especially the stunt scenes.

Thommy said...

"after his second peg and my third,"....was that the last for the day...? Really enjoyed..again.
Thank you for your comment on my cartoons....living life praying "lead me NOt to temptations"

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

hmmmm ...

XXX Vodka - Pleasure to Health with 2 gulps. Double mazaa, No sazaa

(NOTE ::: The above is meant for Hindi ads ...)

P. Venugopal said...

Ha ha ha!!! you would have done great as a copy writer, Deepa!!! You are in the wrong line as a software wizard.

Thommy, thank you once again. Third is my best condition and I keep myself at the best condition. Am attentive to body and mind. Live life to your alert best is something I have been practising all my life, first unconsciously and now consciously.

(Ha ha ha!!! I am philosophical this morning. My friends fear such days.)

evjemarkusson said...

DEEPA is a sofware wizard and works for Sorcy?

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Venu Maash :: Thank you .. Thank you :D :D . Praise from creative geniuses like you always makes my day !
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ... once upon a time, long long ago, i did a 1 month stint as a copywriter ..
i am no wizard :D ... i just know how to debug codes no matter how crazy they are ....

Kiddy : No .. i dont .. tho i wish i could

P. Venugopal said...

Friends stick together, through hell or high water, don't they, Deepa? You could have been very good at copy writing too.

Kiddy, enjoy the fun...

Deepa said...

Venu Maashe ... Absolutely ... 100% ... glitches come in at times depending on the bird's feathers ... but when the feathers are the same, smotth sailing all the way !!
Thanks for your compliment .. at times I wish too ... we had once written an article for The Hindu too ... but well ...

P. Venugopal said...

Deepa, go one step beyond the colour of the feathers. We are of the same blood and bones. Then the colour of the feathers too vanish!!!
What was that article? Can you send me the link?

Deepa said...

GMorn Venu Maashe ...

Yeah .. you are right :)

The article .... it was an interview with Shri. Laurie Baker at his house. Awesome place it is !!!
Dont think there is a link .. coz dont know about The Hindu archives. Wie submitted a printed hard copy, and when it was published, the online copies were not out :)

P. Venugopal said...

Good morning, Deepa! If you can google using the right key words such as the headline after the term "the hindu" plus your byline plus laurie baker, you may land on the link. From around 2004 everything is on the net. For instance, I recovered one article I had written on this great architect soon after his death (there is something wrong with this copy, however. due to some editing problem, something that belonged to the beginning part of the article has come at the end). This is the link:
http://www.hindu.com/pp/2007/04/07/stories/2007040700130200.htm

Deepa said...

hi Maashe

GMorn to you too :)
Today calling you Maashe really reminded me of the Mohanlal film.

I checked your link .. I had read it before (or so I feel .. coz article seems very familiar)

I searched for my article ... didnt find it .. It would have been around 1998 that my friend and I wrote it ... infact, we knew certain members of his family very very well ... he was an amazing man ! Very very inspiring

Have a great day ahead

sibi said...

Excellent one! 'Spiritually enriching' too. Keep blogging!

Sumi Mathai said...

hahhaha..nice entertainment for the fellow boozers :)